Beef Show steers the competition at fair

Justin Christie was pretty easy to spot in the crowd at the Beef Show at the Douglas County Fair.

He was the happy kid pumping a gleaming three-tiered trophy high into the air outside the show arena.

“Grandma, I won a trophy!” Justin yelled into a cell phone a few minutes later as his father helped him lead his Grand Champion Chi-Maine heifer, Emily, back to her stall.

The 7-year-old Baldwin boy’s animal was among 54 animals in the show, which featured breeding beef, beef showmanship and market steers.

“It is a family project, where everybody works together,” said Michal Ann Russell, Baldwin, a show volunteer.

The contestants, who ranged in age from 7 to 19, each had from two to three beef cattle at the show, Russell said.

The judges were mostly interested in how well the 4-H’ers can show their animal, how well the animal is groomed and whether the animal will look well-muscled when it goes in for the inevitable – the meat processing.

Haley Parker, 14, a South Junior High School ninth-grader, said the worst part of raising the animals is “selling my steer.”

“It’ll be sad,” she said, looking over at Roman, her cross-bred steer who went from about 80 pounds to about 1,000 pounds in a year.

“I think the best part is bringing new calves to the fair,” Haley said.

She looked over at her new 2-week-old calf, Amos, and its mother, Millie.

“I’ll breed her again, and she’ll have another baby next year,” Haley said.

A few minutes later, MacKenzie Flory, a 14-year-old Baldwin High School freshman, won the Grand Champion ribbon for her Angus heifer.

“And my little brother (7-year-old Caleb) won reserve champion,” MacKenzie said.

MacKenzie said she liked traveling to different cattle shows and has been to events in Maryland, South Dakota, Nevada and Indiana.

“I’ve made a lot of friends,” she said.

Delaney Dieker, a South Junior High School eighth-grader, was showing a steer and a heifer.

“They’re fun animals to work with,” Delaney said. “It’s a lot of work, but a lot of fun.”

Wyatt Schumann, a 12-year-old who attends Perry Middle School, had just won a Grand Champion ribbon for his Hereford heifer and was waiting to compete for Supreme Heifer.

“I like it all,” Wyatt said, grinning when asked about all the work it takes to raise the animals.

The hardest part?

“Having to rinse them off every day,” Wyatt said.

Wearing pink cowgirl boots and a sparkly Western shirt, 11-year-old Annabelle Rosche, Baldwin, had just left the show arena.

Annabelle had been competing with Rosie, her 18-month-old Limousin heifer, in the Junior Yearling Heifer category.

Annabelle said Rosie’s mother had fallen on the ice and had to be destroyed, so a Caesarian section was done to save the calf.

Rosie came to the fair last year, when Annabelle entered her in the Bucket Calf Show.

“She has two other buddies in the pasture, so we just let her go in the summer time and bring her in for the fair,” Annabelle said.

And the black heifer had a bit of stage fright.

“She was fighting me in the arena,” Annabelle said. “She was tossing her head all around. But, hey, I got second, so that’s better than nothing.”